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questions to ask your doctor was posted 11/13/2000 09:09 am by peter argani
E-mail Address: pargani@pds.path.jhu.edu

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Hi Cathy: If you are in the midst of dealing with bile duct cancer, you have a lot on your mind and you may have difficulty knowing where to start. Since every patient has a unique case, your doctors are your best source of information and you have every right to ask them questions. Heather Sentkoski, a clinical social worker at Johns Hopkins, has compiled the following list of questions as a guideline. Here are her suggestions: If you are meeting with a surgeon or oncologist for the first time, do not be afraid to ask: Have you ever treated a bile duct cancer patient before? If this is a surgeon, how many surgeries have you performed on bile duct cancer patients? What has the general outcome of those patients been? Where were you trained? (medical school, residency) Which surgeons did you study under? At any point in the relationship with your physican, you have the right to ask: What is the diagnosis? What treatments are recommended? Are there other treatment options available that you do not provide? (i.e. protocol treatments, herbal therapy, touch therapy, other alternative therapies) What are the benefits of each treatment? What are the side effects of each treatment? What are the medications being prescribed? What are they for? What are their side effects? Are there any clinical drug trials I can participate in? How should I expect to feel during the treatment(s)? What are the risks of the treatment(s)? Will my diet need to be changed or modified? Will I need to take enzymes, vitamins, etc? Do not forget to ask about the things that are most important to you: How will this affect my ability to work? Can this treatment be done as an outpatient so that I can spend more time at home with family? Will I have any physical limitations? How will my current lifestyle be changed? Finally - and most importantly - ask these questions of YOURSELF: Does my doctor appear interested in answering my questions? Or, does my doctor look annoyed when I ask questions, like I'm doubting their expertise or I am holding them up? Do I feel that my doctor cares about my medical outcome? If you are uncomfortable with the results of some of these questions, you may want to re-evaluate your choice of physician or get a second opinion. At Hopkins, we have several surgeons who specialize in treating bile duct cancers (Drs. Cameron, Yeo, Lillimoe, Choti). If you do chose to get a second opinion on your father's tumor, I would suggest that you contact one of them. Their office phone numbers are listed on the web site.Best of luck, peter argani

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